Since being approached by Prince to collaborate while spinning at Los Angeles’ world famous House of Blues, DJ Rashida’s star has understandably been on the rise. While juggling touring with artists like Kelis and Cee-Lo, with appearing in fashion shoots for Italian Vogue, TV show gigs and events for Hollywood’s elite may seem like a handful to some, this DJ takes it all in her stride. Here to rock the after-parties of the bejewelled lord of modern funk, Prince, Rashida opened up to ACCLAIM about life on the road with the purple one and how she got there.
What experiences led to you falling in love with music and becoming a DJ?
First and foremost: the love for music… and growing up in two musical households. Love of the mix came when I started going to clubs in high school, I would sneak out to go dance and listen to my fave DJs.
Which DJs inspired you to make an impact in this industry?
So many, for very different reasons and in no particular order: Larry Levan, Spinna, King Britt, Bobbito, Rich Medina, Little Louie Vega, Beverly Bond and Mark Ronson, to name a few.
Are there any particular tunes you’re enjoying playing at the moment?
As far as new tunes go: Right thing to Do SBTRKT, Is It love? Thundercat, Purple Drank Axel Bowman, Love You So Delilah, Extraloveable Prince, CMYK James Blake, Move Love Robert Glasper (1-o.a.k. remix), Forget Lianne La Havas.
When you’re not spinning, what tunes get you onto the dance floor?
90’s dancehall, hip-hop, disco, deep house and of course Prince.
How has the exposure of been a prominent TV DJ (on America’s Best Dance Crew) affected your life?
It’s given me an audience I wouldn’t have otherwise, like kids that wouldn’t ever have seen me, as they’re not old enough to be in the club. It feels great to hear from young girls that they feel inspired to become DJs because they saw me doing it on TV.
You’re also well known and followed for your distinctive fashion, how did your style evolve?
Looking back, I’ve always liked the same things. Over time it’s just become more refined I think.
What have been your favourite moments touring with an artist as epically transcendent as Prince?
Over the years there are far too many to list. So many good times! No matter how many shows I’ve seen I‘m always moved. It’s always a feast for the senses. Hearing some of my favourite songs ever played live is always a treat. Getting to listen to and kick it with the incredible artists and musicians that come through to jam and collaborate is always fun. The intimate after jams and our little family-style after parties are always dope. People breaking out in song, having dance contests etc. Too many inside jokes! It’s a lot of fun.
Prince is known for his rocking after parties, know doubt this has much to do with his DJ, what can Aussie crowds expect this time round?
Real music by real musicians and positive vibrations from the DJ booth.
He’s also known for a strong stance against the digitalisation of music. How does this make life for you as a DJ who uses Serato (digital DJ software)?
When I first started working with Prince I played vinyl only, it took me a long minute to get down with the Serato movement. I used to haul crates and crates of records around on tour, to his house or wherever the party was. Clearly vinyl sounds better and it’s what I was used to at the time. The benefits of Serato though have made it so that I can have an unlimited amount of music available on any given night, and if I need to get something at the last minute its only a download away.
Many moons ago if he wanted me to play his new tune he would have to get me a dub plate made, now all he has to do is give me a CD or send a file. However there is something to be said about the effect that listening to an analog sound wave vs. a digital sequence of numbers has on the senses. I still prefer analog for sure.
Is it difficult to keep up with what’s fresh in the music scene when spending so much time on tour?
Not really. Personally I find I get excited about what’s music’s being made and played by DJs in other parts of the world.
What are your gigs like when you get to return home and play in your hometown Atlanta?
You know I don’t get back to Atlanta as often as I’d like. My family’s all West and I’ve been back in LA for about 10 years, so that’s home for me now. I do get to gig in Atlanta every once in a while though. It is a special place and I’m grateful I got to spend my formative years there. It most definitely shaped me as a DJ.